MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Wednesday, June 22, 2022

1MDB trial: Funds transfer would worry me if I was PM - Husni


Ex-finance minister II Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanadzlah testified that he would have been shocked by the diverting of US$700 million of 1MDB funds if he was Malaysia’s top leader.

His oral evidence came during this afternoon’s RM2.28 billion 1MDB corruption trial against former prime minister and finance minister Najib Abdul Razak.

The 20th prosecution witness told the Kuala Lumpur High Court that he would have been worried by the monetary diversion if he was prime minister.

Husni (above) claimed that Najib did not respond to his concern about the diversion of the funds meant for a joint venture between the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund and Petrosaudi International Limited (PSI).

The prosecution contended that the US$700 million was transferred to Good Star Limited, an entity allegedly set up by businessperson Low Taek Jho (Jho Low).

The prosecutors also contended that Low acted with the blessing of Najib.

However, the defence team claimed that the accused had no knowledge of wrongdoing and that the embezzlement was perpetrated solely by Low and some members of the fund’s management.

During today’s heated cross-examination by defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, Husni claimed Najib did nothing when he raised his concerns with the then-premier about the matter.

However, the lawyer countered that even the prime minister cannot just decide to take action without going through 1MDB’s board of directors.

Lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah

In a raised voice, Shafee claimed that the fund’s board of advisors chaired by Najib could not act unless the board of directors specifically sought its advice.

Husni countered that Najib was never worried about the diversion of funds and that, as he was then premier, he could have taken action and gotten those in 1MDB involved in the diversion to be dismissed.

“If I was the top leader (in Malaysia), definitely I would be shocked and take action,” the witness claimed.

Shafee: Are you aware that the (1MDB) board demanded answers and the management under Shahrol (Azral Ibrahim Halmi, the fund’s then CEO) replied that the money was paid to Petrosaudi. That was what they (management) told the board.

Husni: If I was the prime minister, I would be worried as this would affect the position of the government.

Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak

In a loud voice, Shafee contended that Husni was insulting Najib, while the witness denied this.

During previous proceedings before trial judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah, Husni testified that Najib told him not to interfere in 1MDB when the witness raised concerns about the formation of the fund and the way it was run.

Also rebuffed in SRC case

In the separate RM42 million SRC International corruption trial against Najib in 2019, Husni testified that the then premier also told him not to get involved in matters involving the former subsidiary of 1MDB.

SRC’s ownership transferred hands from the fund to the Minister of Finance Incorporated (MOF Inc).

Husni was finance minister II from 2009 to 2016.

Proceedings before Sequerah will resume tomorrow, with deputy public prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram expected to conduct a re-examination of Husni.

Najib, who is also the Pekan MP, is on trial for four counts of abuse of power and 21 counts of money laundering involving RM2.28 billion of 1MDB’s funds.

The offences were allegedly committed between 2011 and 2014. - Mkini

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